Fourth Joint Helmholtz-Rosatom School for
young scientists at FAIR.

Report: Fourth International FAIR School:

From September 6-13, 2015 the Fourth International FAIR School (the successor of the Joint Helmholtz-Rosatom School) took place in Castiglione della Pescaia, Italy. The school was supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), the Helmholtz Graduate School for Hadron and Ion Research (HGS-HIRe for FAIR) and the FAIR Russia Research Center (FRRC). The BMBF support was realized via the BMBF-FSP 212 “NUSTAR.de”.

The scope of the school was to bring together young scientists working on the physics of the Facility of Antiproton and Ion Research, especially from the two biggest shareholders Russia and Germany.
Here, the German side was represented by students from BMBF funded groups all across Germany, the Russian side was represented mostly by students connected to the FRRC program funded by GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung and Kurchatov Institute.

Additionally several Polish and Indian students attended the Lecture Week. In total students from 12 nationalities participated in the 4th International FAIR School.

The program covered all scientific pillars of the FAIR program, especially focussing on the large collaborations, i.e. APPA, CBM, NUSTAR and PANDA. Each topic was covered in one day, highlighting the experimental as well as the theoretical issues. Two additional days covered the accelerator complex itself and the IT infrastructure of FAIR.

Group picture of the 4th International FAIR School

The day started with two lectures by internationally renowned experts. Due to the experience and the input from the HGS-HIRe program coordinator excellent lecturers could be found, who did not just use old presentations, but rather created presentations especially suited for the audience. This was very important due to the very diverse research backgrounds of the audience. Whenever possible, lectures were offered both on the experimental side and also on the underlying theory stressing the importance of both parts.

The afternoon was then devoted to a prolonged discussion session and group work. Given the experience with previous lecture weeks, it is quite hard to make sure that students from different countries get to know each other and discuss
outside their usual peer group. Thus they were mixed up (by country, gender and research topic) to make sure they use the opportunity and build connections over the course of the week. This was even more stressed than in previous editions of the FAIR School, by mixing the student groups during the week. During these group projects in the afternoon they worked on exercises and projects handed out by the lecturers of the day. Given the variety of scientific backgrounds some students could handle the questions of the respective day better than others, however due to the mixing of the groups each group had the needed expertise to go through the exercises and projects. Since the topics changed during the course of the school each student could contribute at some point of the school. The projects ranged from knowledge based questions, literature work, calculations to small programming projects and ensured a vibrant and stimulating learning environment. The size of the groups was set to five to six students, which has proven to be a good group size for such activities in previous schools.

Students listening to the lectures.

During the evening the answers of the different groups were collected and discussed with the lecturers of the day. Since the students were eager
to present their results and asked many more questions than anticipated this session regularly ran overtime. The resulting discussions were of a very high scientific level, which was noted by the lecturers at several occasions. Usually the discussions then went on over dinner.

Students discussing with one of the lecturers

The projects ranged from knowledge based questions, literature work, calculations to small programming projects and ensured a vital and stimulating learning environment.
The size of the groups was set to six to seven students, which has proven to be a good group size for such activities in previous courses in the HGS-HIRe schedule.

During the evening the answers of the different groups were collected and discussed with the lecturers of the day. Since the students were eager to present their results and asked much more questions than anticipated this session regularly ran overtime.

It should be noted that the resulting discussions were of a very high scientific level, which was noted by the lecturers at several occasions. Usually the discussions then went on over dinner.

Student working during the group work session 

In order to improve further lecture week the students were asked to evaluate the program afterwards. In an anonymous online survey the students were asked to rate the week according to four criteria: Impact of the course, Course content, Organization and Quality of the lectures.

The possible answers were:

  • Very Poor (1) 
  • Poor (2)
  • Fair (3)
  • Good (4)
  • Very Good (5)

Above the numerical answers of the online survey. Overall the students rated the lecture week to be excellent, which also can be seen in the comments which have been made.

Quotes from the online student survey:

“It was my first summer school, so I don't have any comparison. The organizers were very helpful, kind and friendly. Whole school was really good prepared, lectures were interesting even for people who hadn't any contact with FAIR and GSI before. Activities prepared for students were very thought-provoking and provoked very lively discussion. Place of school and hotel were beautiful, we had free time to rest, meeting and discussions with other participants. With many people who I met at this school, we plan a meet, even if every of us live in other country. We still keep in touch. It will be for me a great pleasure to take part in such school again. I highly recommend to everyone.”

“The School was really nice, especially the group discussion session was very useful. Even though I shall be working on a particular aspect of the FAIR project, I had a fair idea of all the other aspects of the FAIR project too.”

“The whole school was astonishingly great! I believe it really inspired and interested every participant with the FAIR project.”

“This school gave me great opportunity to talk with people from different countries about FAIR :) Overall impression - perfect school. I learnt more about future FAIR experiments and modern fields of physics. I'm not sure that the school was useful in my scientific field, but it was useful to make contacts with people interested in physics.”


It should be noted that the Fourth International FAIR School was a huge success and led to many fruitful  collaborations and connections between the students themselves and between the students and the lecturers. We believe that these kind of schools are an important aspect of a truly international PhD education. It is crucial to continue these events, however due to their large scale they are not possible to finance without additional funding from e.g. BMBF, Kurchatov or Rosatom.

The directors of the school, Frankfurt am Main,

Sascha Vogel
Hans Gutbrod


The list below above the participating students and their home institutions alphabetically. Positions 47-62 (in bold) are lecturers and organizers.

 1 Valentin Agababaev St. Petersburg State University
Oleg Andreev St. Petersburg State University
3 Evgeny Anikin Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology
Anastasia Bakhmutova Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics, Moscow
Sayani Biswas Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai
Daria Bochek Budker Institute for Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk
Sofia Bukreeva nstitute for High Energy Physics, Protvino
Mario Cappellazzo Universität Köln
Konstantin Cistakov Universität Frankfurt
10  Santwana Dubey Universität Mainz
11  Eduard Friske University Tübingen
12  Bo Fu Universität Köln
13  Andres Gomez Universität Frankfurt
14  Ivan Gorelyshev Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna
15  Jens Harzheim TU Darmstadt
16  Sebastian Heil TU Darmstadt
17  Gabriele Inghirami Universität Frankfurt
18  Lukasz Iskra Institute of Nuclear Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Krakow
19  Irina Ivanova St. Petersburg State University
20  Pavel Kisel Universität Frankfurt
21  Pavlos Koseoglou TU Darmstadt
22  Yury Kozhedub St. Petersburg State University
23  Grigory Kozlov Universität Frankfurt
24  Janina Krieg TU Darmstadt
25  Bo Ram Lee Universität Köln
26  Konstantin Lyachchenko Budker Institute for Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk
27  Aleksei Malyshev St. Petersburg State University
28  Karina Martin Budker Institute for Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk
29  Ievgeniia Momot Universität Frankfurt
30  Aleksandr Nikolaev Far Eastern Federal University
31  Mykhailo Pugach Universität Frankfurt
32  Stefan Reinicke Universität Dresden
33  Yury Rogovskiy Budker Institute for Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk
34  Pratap Roy VECC, Kolkota
35  Sofya Rymzhanova Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna
36  Sergey Ryzhikov Institute for High Energy Physics, Protvino
37  Martin Schmidt Universität Tübingen
38  David Schneiders Universität Köln
39  Alexander Senchenko Budker Institute for Nuclear Physics, Novosibirsk
40  Nikolay Shurkno Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna
41  Zuzana Slavkovska Universität Frankfurt
42  Anne Spende TU Darmstadt
43  Vinzent Steinberg Universität Frankfurt
44  Ina Syndikus TU Darmstadt
45  Milad Tanha Universität Frankfurt
46   Kamila Zelga Jagiellonian University, Krakow
47  Mohammad Al-Turany GSI
48  Dima Anuchin FRRC
49  Marcus Bleicher FIAS, University of Frankfurt
50  Christian Fischer University of Giessen
51  Hans Gutbrod FRRC, GSI
52  Andreas Heinz Chalmers University
53  Dieter Hofmann TU Darmstadt
54  Mariya Kosolapova FRRC
55  Alessandro Marchioro CERN
56  Paul Neumayer GSI, University Frankfurt
57  Elisabetta Prencipe FZ Jülich
58  Boris Sharkov FAIR
59  Rüdiger Schmidt CERN
60  Markus Steck GSI
61  Christian Sturm GSI
62  Sascha Vogel FIAS, HGS-HIRe